About the 71 Toll Lane Project
SH 71 serves as a major corridor connecting drivers to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA), the city of Bastrop, and points beyond. The 71 Toll Lane project adds a toll lane in each direction along SH 71 from near Presidential Boulevard at ABIA and extending east near SH 130. These new lanes offer a free-flowing and reliable bypass route for through-traffic, especially during peak hour congestion. Also, the same number of non-tolled travel lanes that were available before construction still remain.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE:
- One new toll lane in each direction and the preservation of the existing non-tolled lanes of SH 71.
- New bridges over FM 973 and SH 130 will facilitate through-traffic movement.
- New ramps will connect SH 71 with SH 130, offering drivers greater connectivity between the two key roadways.
- Approximately 5-miles of shared use path will line both sides of the corridor to close gaps in the existing and future network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
Construction began in early 2015 and the toll lanes opened to traffic in February 2017. During construction, the road will remain open, with planned traffic shifts to accommodate construction activities.
ACHIEVING GREATER MOBILITY:
The 71 Toll Lane will enhance safety and reduce congestion along this key east-west corridor. Currently, travelers face long travel times due to multiple traffic signals within the project limits. This project will eliminate weaving and merging caused by airport-bound traffic exiting SH 71 while sharing the road with through-traffic headed to points beyond.
The 71 Toll Lane offers travelers an option to bypass congestion and reach their destination faster. It also serves intra-city traffic between Houston and Austin, and facilitate freight and trucking needs.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 71 Toll Lane project is expected to reduce travel times by 54 percent by 2026 and is also expected to reduce costs associated with driving in traffic from approximately $15 million per year to $10 million per year. (TxDOT 2013 Preliminary Project Benefit Assessment)
Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements:
The project will complete bicycle and pedestrian facility connections along the south side of SH 71. The enhanced and safer pedestrian access paths will cross under the widened Onion Creek Bridge, and will extend west along the southern edge of the SH 71 corridor, crossing SH 130, FM 973, ABIA and SH 71 at Presidential Boulevard before continuing west to the western area of the project.
Context Sensitive Solutions:
As part of the design process for the project, and in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, TxDOT conducted an environmental study for project in Travis County, Texas.
The design process incorporated a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) approach emphasizing collaboration and involvement of a broad spectrum of stakeholders who contribute to the development of CSS concepts for the proposed improvements. The CSS process considered the safety and mobility needs of the community, while seeking to preserve and enhance scenic, aesthetic, cultural, community, and environmental resources within its physical setting.
Two CSS workshops were held to obtain input from stakeholders, including community members, elected officials, interest groups, and the general public. The results were presented at open houses for citizens to comment on the CSS elements.